Thursday, April 20, 2017

Baren Time





The bamboo in the garden is coming up and that means I'll be gathering takenokawa--the leaf sheaths or culms from the bamboo plant that I use for covering my barens.

I have a few workshops and classes starting next month and one of the things that always interests students are my home-made barens.  A basic plastic baren like we use in my classes costs just $6.00 but as the papers get thicker and the work more complicated, a stronger baren with a little more "feel" and heft makes printing easier and improves the quality of the printed image. Mid-range barens get expensive fast, and professional barens can cost--depending on type--from $150 to over $1000.


The one's I make take a few days to put together but cost just about $5.00 in materials and work well enough for beginners and students on both thin Japanese papers and thicker European papers and will function until one has made enough prints to think about moving to a better tool.  Instructions on how they're made can be found in earlier posts--the biggest change I've made is in hardening the twisted twine with PVA glue so it will stay hard longer--and using different strings to make medium or harder barens. I've had 3 of my barens find new homes recently so I have to make a few new ones so I'll have some for my next workshop for students to try out. For someone who wants to make their own look over my earlier posts:
http://rospobio.blogspot.it/2013/05/making-twisted-cord-baren.html   or  http://rospobio.blogspot.it/2015/01/home-made-barens-revisited-and-now-on.html




















Wednesday, April 12, 2017

This time with a little color.

I have been moving forward with my small print series of shunga/erotica/quick sketches and have etched one image/plate and almost finished another. Meanwhile, I cut color blocks for this one and pulled a couple of color proofs using my baren and today quickly inked and proofed the zinc plate with a small table press on top of the color work already laid down.
I'm using a textured Italian etching paper and my zinc plates weren't highly polished so there's a lot of plate tone that is going to greatly influence the final result. 
I think this isn't bad for a color test--I will probably flip color tones for the male and female shapes and try to get it to print a little cleaner.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Shunga 2

Here are the first three of my sample plates for my erotic/shunga series.
I'm still not sure if I'll be able to pull this off but I'll commit to at least 5 of the images I have in mind and wait until I've got the color blocks done and printed too before I decide if this is worth pursuing.
Of these I'm happy with the 1st two--the third I think needs to be redrawn and etched on a new plate.




Soft-ground etching on zinc waiting for color plates.
They're all either 13cm square or 12cm x 13cm.